West Maroon Creek Trail runner suffers severe mountain sickness; airlifted to Denver hospital Monday
A 29-year-old man suffering “acute mountain sickness” while running on the West Maroon Creek Trail was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Denver on Monday morning, according to a Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office statement released Monday.
Jung Wook Kim of Washington, D.C., and his running partner, 30-year-old William Eden of San Francisco, were attempting to complete the Four Pass Loop, the statement said.
The Four Pass Loop is a 27-mile loop through four 12,000-foot passes with nearly 8,000 vertical feet of climbing.
Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center first received news of an unknown medical emergency on the West Maroon Creek Trail in the Maroon Bells wilderness area near Crater Lake at approximately 8:41 p.m. on Sunday.
The county notified Mountain Rescue Aspen, who immediately organized a rescue team.
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At about 10 p.m., a team of 12 Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteers deployed from the C.B. Cameron Rescue Center, the statement said.
Eden told authorities that he and Kim turned around approximately 14 miles into their run, when Kim started to not feel well.
The runners were over West Maroon Pass within 1.5 miles of Crater Lake when they decided that Kim would stay with backpackers in the area and Eden would go on seeking help, as Kim’s condition was worsening.
The Mountain Rescue Aspen team reached Kim around 12:30 a.m. and determined that immediate medical assistance was needed.
Summit County Flight for Life transported Kim to Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Denver.
Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office could not be reached for comment by The Aspen Times.
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